Palestinians Have a Right to Defend Themselves
Urging “de-escalation on all sides,” Price then delivered the standard recognition of “Israel’s legitimate right to defend itself and to defend its people and its territory.” When the Washington bureau chief for Al-Quds daily asked whether Palestinians shared in the right to self-defense, Price’s response was equivocal, affirming that “the concept of self-defense,” should apply “to any state.” To the stateless Palestinians, one can then conclude, the State Department extends no such rights.
A search of the media aggregator Factiva finds that the five US newspapers with the highest circulation — the Wall Street Journal, USA Today, the New York Times, the Washington Post, and the Los Angeles Times — have run 343 articles this century containing the phrases “Israel’s right to self-defense,” “Israel has a right to defend itself,” or “Israel’s right to defend itself.” Querying the same outlets in the same period for “Palestinian right to self-defense,” “Palestinians have a right to defend themselves,” or variations of “Palestinians’ right to defend themselves,” produces just two results, nearly identical pieces about an ex-guard at a US Air Force base reputed to have said that Palestinians have such a right.
Implicit in this double standard is the idea that Palestinians should simply submit to their own murder, assault, and dispossession.
Denying the Palestinians’ right to defend themselves, furthermore, means demanding their total submission as Israel targets Palestinian demonstrators in cities like Nablus, Bethlehem, Qalqilya, and Hebron.
Since 2009, Israeli demolitions have displaced over 11,400 Palestinians, more than 2,600 of them in East Jerusalem.